Family is one of the most important things in life.
We grow up learning how to live through trial and error, and for most of us, our families are the ones who provide the fundamental knowledge, values, and beliefs we need in order to survive and grow as human beings. When we are met with struggles, our families are who we rely on to help us successfully navigate our way towards a solution.
As young addicts and alcoholics, having a supportive family that is willing to aid us, despite all of our wrongdoings, is of paramount importance. While there is a fine line between enabling and offering help to an addict, it is important to understand that the disease of addiction can be so cunning, so baffling and so powerful that it can force the inflicted to turn his or her back on the opportunity to get clean because the disease itself wishes to survive. In cases where the disease tightens its grasp, the family bond will eventually break as resentments build in the family and loved ones are hurt from constantly being lied to and/or stolen from.
Sometimes, the family reaches a breaking point and the addict is left to fend for his or herself. Other times, a final chance is offered in the form of rehabilitation and treatment. Once the addict is ready to surrender and get clean, the process of mending the family can begin. At Sober College, “Family Weekend” provides clients and their families the opportunity to clear the air and reopen the lines of communication that were destroyed through the depths of addiction.
Family Weekend allows clients to open up about their resentments in a safe environment, while also allowing them to see the damage they have caused their families in a way that is beneficial for their recovery. In turn, family members are given the chance to talk about the effects their loved ones’ addiction has had on the family as a whole.
In our active addictions, many of us were selfish to the point of being naïve about the harm we were doing to our families. We (wrongly) assumed we were only harming ourselves with drugs and alcohol.. However, in recovery, we are able to see the truth.
Having participated in Family Weekend myself, I can personally attest to its benefits. Initially, I held my own reservations about the process … I thought I knew where I had wronged my family. I thought they knew how much regret I had. I was wrong. Throughout the weekend, I came to understand that the truths I thought I knew were assumptions. I assumed my family knew I was remorseful. I assumed they knew I was sorry. I assumed they knew why I started using. I assumed they knew they shouldn’t blame my problems with addiction on their parenting. Having a therapist present, I was able to convey everything I had been holding back throughout my active addiction, emotions and all. Tears streamed down all of our faces as we uncovered the past and spoke of our hopes for the future. By the end of the weekend, I felt as though a weight had been lifted; I finally understood what had caused a divide between me and my parents in the past, and I knew what I needed to do in order to continue strengthening our relationship in the future. While delving headfirst into our painful past, we were able to open up the future to healing.
The journey into and through recovery is, by nature, a healing process. We must heal our bodies, our minds and our spirits. We must heal our relationships with ourselves and with our loved ones. While it almost always is painful and tough to deal with at first, Family Weekend gives the wounds within our families the chance to heal more quickly than they would otherwise.